Christian Leaders, Others, Pay Tributes to Late Archbishop Desmond Tutu


Tributes have poured in for late Archbishop Desmond Tutu who passed on yesterday at age 90. The South African anti-apartheid icon and revered cleric broke barriers in the Anglican church by becoming the first black archbishop of Cape Town. He was also a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1984.

Pope Francis via a Vatican telegram paid tributes to Tutu saying, “His Holiness Pope Francis was saddened to learn of the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu… Mindful of his service to the gospel through the promotion of racial equality and reconciliation in his native South Africa, his Holiness commends his soul to the loving mercy of Almighty God.” 

Similarly, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, released a statement describing Tutu as a man of “words and action.” Also, he spoke about his vision and courage as a leader.

"Arch's love transformed the lives of politicians and priests, township dwellers and world leaders. The world is different because of this man. Archbishop Tutu was a prophet and priest, a man of words and action, one who embodied the hope and joy that were the foundations of his life. 

“He was a man of extraordinary personal courage and bravery: when the police burst into Cape Town Cathedral, he defied them by dancing down the aisle. He was a man of enormous vision: seeing the possibilities for building the Rainbow Nation long before anyone else, except perhaps President Mandela. His vision and bravery were allied with a canny political sense and wisdom, enabling him to be a healer and apostle of peace while so many still saw wounds and war," Welby said.

Thabo Makgoba, the present Archbishop of Cape Town, eulogized Tutu saying, "Prayer, the Scriptures and his ministry to the people God entrusted to his care were at the heart of his life. He wanted every human being on Earth to experience the freedom, the peace and the joy that all of us could enjoy if we truly respected one another as people created in the image of God. 

"Because he believed this, and because he worshiped God, he feared no one. He named wrong wherever he saw it and by whomever it was committed. He challenged the systems that demeaned humanity. He could unleash a righteous anger on those — especially the powerful — who inflicted suffering upon those the Bible calls 'the least of these, my brothers (and sisters).'

"And when the perpetrators of evil experienced a true change of heart, he followed the example of His Lord and was willing to forgive. Desmond Tutu's legacy is moral strength, moral courage and clarity. He felt with the people. In public and alone, he cried because he felt people's pain.

"And he laughed — no, not just laughed, he cackled with delight when he shared their joy," he said.

In his statement, former US President Barack Obama said, “Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a mentor, a friend and a moral compass for me and so many others. A universal spirit, Archbishop Tutu was grounded in the struggle for liberation and justice in his own country, but also concerned with injustice everywhere. 

“He never lost his impish sense of humour and willingness to find humanity in his adversaries, and Michelle and I will miss him dearly.” 

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